Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry Pharmacy scoop top UK award at Westminster ceremony

McCartan’s Pharmacy of Newry have been awarded the UK Independent Pharmacy Team of the Year at a ceremony  in Westminster  on Friday past.  The accolade comes a mere five and a half years after owners Gemma and Dan McCartan set up business in the Fiveways complex  on the Armagh  Road, and they accepted  the award in the House of Commons on behalf of their pharmacy team.

The judges stated that McCartan’s Pharmacy is known for its public health initiatives as well as its first-class health services.  Under the leadership of Gemma McCartan, the pharmacy team had built up a large prescription trade, but their work within the community  particularly caught their attention.  

 “When I look at how good a pharmacy is, I ask ‘Is there continuous improvement?’  This pharmacy is clearly continuously improving,” one judge asserted.

Thanking Fabio Mazzotta, Head of SANOFI Healthcare on making the award,  Gemma said it was a true testament to the dedication and hard work from her team and reflected the level of support the pharmacy had enjoyed from the local community since opening its doors in May 2014.

“This year alone the pharmacy is working alongside Homestart to improve health outcomes for families with small children,” she stated. “They are also running a scheme for children from the age of eight with type one diabetes to help them understand their condition and manage it effectively.   The pharmacy’s autism scheme has also been very successful, with parents reporting it has not only offered them respite but allowed their children to take responsibility for their own health.”

Gemma pointed out  that each team  member brought  a different skillset.  One shop front member is great on social media and can effectively promote new products, the dispensary manager is integral to the team and ensures the smooth running of daily operations, and the dispensary assistants provide huge support to the pharmacists.

“They are constantly willing to improve and learn and two are taking their NVQ which I am delighted to be able to support.” 

Team photo Front row L-R Linda Collins, Michelle Doran, Niamh Reavey, Lorraine Sands, Gemma McCartan, Kim Curtis. Back row L-R Mark Pagni, Stephen Lally.

She  pointed out that although the pharmacy has been in business for just over five years to the casual observer, it seems as if the team has worked together for many years.  The local area is densely populated and has retail stores, community centres, industrial parks and new housing developments.

“This means we have a large OTC trade,  so all our staff are fully trained on this and we aim to always have two pharmacists on at all times.” 

The pharmacy recently launched a travel clinic which has taken off and there is a strong focus on other services such as the throat swab and food intolerance testing.

“We at McCartan’s would like to thank all our team members who make it their mission to deliver an excellent service every day.  To our loyal customers and patients we say thank you so much for your support.  A special mention goes to all the community groups and initiatives we work with especially Building the Community Pharmacy Partnership who make all this work possible.

 “ Again, we  are greatly encouraged by this major UK  award,  and will work  to build on  our success and provide an excellent service to the community for many years to come.”